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'Never Thought I'd See It Again': $13,000 Flute Left In Boston Taxi Nearly A Decade Ago Returned To Owner

BOSTON (CBS) -- It took almost a decade, but Heidi Slyker is reunited with her flute. Boston police said Wednesday they've given Slyker her instrument worth $13,000 back after she left it in a taxi cab in 2012.

Slyker, who was a performer with the New England Philharmonic orchestra at the time, said she lost the flute at around 3:30 a.m. when she was riding in a minivan Metrocab from her job at Howl At The Moon back to her Beacon Hill apartment. The New Hampshire native told WBZ-TV back then she was "devastated" because she worked full-time in high school to save up money for the flute. She wasn't able to continue playing in the orchestra because she no longer had an instrument, and it took her five years to save enough for a new flute.

"It was pretty terrible. I felt like I lost a limb," Slyker told WBZ-TV on Wednesday. "That was like my whole life, playing that instrument."

The silver flute was made by Woburn-based Brannen and cost $10,000 at the time.

flute recovered
Heidi Bean reunited with her Flute (WBZ-TV)

Police said they got a tip two months ago from an employee at Virtuosity Musical Instruments in Boston who said someone came in and asked about the value of a flute. The worker took down their contact information and snapped a photo of the flute with the serial number.

"The employee later determined that the flute may be the one that was reported missing in 2012," police said.

"I couldn't believe it. I got really excited," Slyker said when she found out her flute had been spotted. "I had never thought I'd see it again."

Detectives spoke to the person who went to the music store; he gave the flute to police and told them he bought it from an "unknown male."

"It was then determined that the individual was a taxi cab driver who was driving a cab the day that the flute was reported missing," police said.

Police said they are seeking complaints against the suspect in Boston Municipal Court for receiving stolen goods.

Slyker is just relieved that the mystery has been resolved.

"I always wondered and it always bothered me so much," she said. "I just wanted to know, did it get melted down, did somebody sell it? Nope."

She said the flute does need to be overhauled at a cost of about $2,000 because it hasn't been properly cared for, but she's hopeful it'll be returned to its original condition.

"I'm really happy," Slyker said. "I thought it was just gone."


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